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Red’s Giant Hamburg making a comeback

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Last edited 9:38 a.m., March 25, 2019

Red’s Giant Hamburg is returning 35 years after the iconic Springfield restaurant closed.

Business partners David Campbell and Greg Iott on Jan. 4 received approval for a building permit with the city to start construction for the replica restaurant. Paul Dock, owner of Morris Dock Construction Co., said his firm started general contracting work in early January for the 4,800-square-foot planned eatery. The building permit lists a declared valuation of $750,000.

“We’re getting ready to come out of the ground with footings and foundation,” he said, noting the owners likely would be “flipping burgers by early summer.”

Iott declined to discuss the plans with Springfield Business Journal, and Campbell did not return multiple phone calls. Campbell, who also owns Buckingham's on South Campbell Avenue, confirmed plans for the replica restaurant in a 2017 blog post by Route 66 News. He told the blog he wanted to create a “shrine” to Red’s Giant Hamburg.

Crews are performing site work for the new restaurant at 2301 W. Sunshine St., adjacent to Furniture Factory Outlet.

The shadow of Red’s Giant Hamburg is long. It gained fame operating on Route 66 and for its its status as the first restaurant with a drive-up window. It later was referenced in pop culture through a song and music video by The Morells and a feature in Rolling Stone magazine, according to SBJ archives.

Operated by Red and Julia Chaney, Red attempted to build his own sign but incorrectly measured the proportions, resulting in Hamburg, rather than Hamburger, appearing outside the former gas station.

A replica Red’s Giant Hamburg sign was installed in 2015 along College Street near downtown Springfield in a roadside park that pays homage to Route 66.

“I think it’s great. They had some connection with Red and his family. That’s how this came about,” Dock said of Campbell and Iott.

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